Merit-based pay an Obama inititiative

I just read this article from edweek that discusses President Obama's educational intitiatives. Certainly merit-based pay is something many of us dedicated, motivated educators get excited about, but I think the devil is in the details here...Of course I want to make more money and have my work recognized, but I have trouble seeing how this type of program would work. What criteria will be used to evaluate teachers? Who will decide whether teachers are meeting these criteria? I would think teacher observations would have to be part of any evaluation process. Would time-on-task be a criteria? Would student attention be a criteria? Certainly teachers with difficult to reach students will be handicapped when it comes to meeting some of these criteria. There are wide range of teaching styles and effective strategies for reaching students.

I would like to start a discussion with teachers and administrators to see what we all define "good teaching" as. As teachers we are comfortable making rubrics. What would a rubric for assessing effective teaching look like? Please send me your ideas.

Views: 48

Comment by Beth Still on March 19, 2009 at 8:04pm
I had this exact conversation with one of the teachers I work with today. Merit pay sounds like such a great idea, but I teach in an alternative school where I may only have a students for a few weeks before they are required to take the state assessment. I cannot imagine that there is a way to adequately measure if teachers are doing their job or not. Great post. You have asked some thought provoking questions.
Comment by Cameron Brown on March 20, 2009 at 8:05pm
Professional educators have different teaching styles and theories of learning that they subscribe to. However, I think most of us could agree on what effective teaching "looks like." I think we need to move away from the notion that teachers can be assessed indirectly by student performance on state exams. If we truly want to promote better teaching we need to move toward a more meaningful assessment of teachers. Maybe a teaching portfolio that provides evidence of effective teaching in tandem with administrator observations. Maybe a third party consultant that comes in and performs "audits." Would these activities be practical? Would they be affordable? I'm not sure. But, if we want to foster teacher development we need find a way of evaluating teacher effectiveness and providing constructive feedback.
Comment by meL on March 23, 2009 at 11:10am
How about those of us with "Teacher" contracts who don't actually teach students? I work with teachers to implement technology in their classrooms. I am dedicated, I am motivated, and I frequently want to beat my head against the wall in frustration. I am excluded from the merit pay option because I no longer teach in a classroom with K-12 students?

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